Coral reefs are retreating to more temperate regions
The exotic Australia’s Great Barrier Reef’s coral cover is declining rapidly. This shocking revelation comes after the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) released a report stating that reef is under stress. The report adds that the reef is struggling with coral bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks that are very common.
It may be noted that this year’s coral cover in the reef’s northern region was 14 per cent (30 per cent in 1988), in central region was 12 per cent (22 per cent in 2016) and 24 per cent in southern region (43 per cent in 1988).
Recent studies reveal warm subtropical environments are more favourable for corals than equatorial waters. Thus, the coral larvae drift to settle and grow in new regions. These subtropical reefs could provide
Climate changes seem to be redistributing coral reefs, the same way it is shifting many other marine species. A senior researcher at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and lead author of the paper, Nichole Price said, “The clarity in this trend is stunning, but we don’t yet know whether the new reefs can support the incredible diversity of tropical systems.”
Thousands of species living in the reef are at risk from underwater heatwaves. Marine scientists are saying that climate change will make it harder for reefs to recover from frequent natural disasters and disturbances.